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Cunard Brings More White Star Training To Sea

February 15, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Updates

As we celebrated Valentine ’s Day on board our ships, Queen Elizabeth headed to her first New Zealand port; Bay of Islands. Meanwhile Queen Victoria is enjoying a mini voyage out of Los Angeles and Queen Mary 2 is heading towards Fremantle on the west coast of Australia. On Queen Elizabeth we have now crossed the International Dateline so went to bed on 10 February and woke up on the morning of the 12th, missing the 11th altogether. It’s a strange concept and interesting for those guests and crew who celebrate their birthdays on that missed day, but we had a special gathering for them so they were able to enjoy what will probably be one of their most memorable birthdays; for not actually happening!

We did a Blog a couple of years ago on board Queen Victoria which tells you a little more about crossing the International Date Line, and you can read about it by clicking here

Queen Elizabeth’s most recent port was a new one for Cunard as she visited Port Denarau in Fiji. It’s a beautiful and exclusive island resort near the town of Nandi which is about forty minutes drive from Lautoka where Queen Victoria visited last year.

Our guests had a lovely day there where the locals greeting visitors so warmly with big smiles and their word for hello ‘Bula’. It’s a wonderful place; I mean where else in the world would you find thatched busses!

We receive many comments and questions on the Blog and it’s always great to hear from you wherever in the world you are. Cunard has always been proud of its international connections and our ships will sometimes have up to 30 different nationalities travelling on board. This Blog also has readers all over the world and I was recently delighted to receive a message from 13 year old Jesper Rönnebrand from Sweden. In his message he told me that he is very interested in naval architecture and cruise ships. He added that Cunard is his favourite cruise line so decided to draw a liner for us at Cunard. He is also a keen follower of this Blog, so I thought I would share this picture with you, after all We Are Cunard  encompasses our Officers, Crew, Shore Side Team and of course our valued guests as well as enthusiasts around the globe.

Thank you again Jesper, I’m sure our readers are as impressed as I was when I saw your drawing. Congratulations and we wish you every success in the future.

Regular readers will be familiar with the White Star Programme we have on board our ships. This programme involves a lot of training not only for new crew but also ongoing training to keep our teams fully focussed to providing the very best service to our guests as you can see in this Blog posted last July.

Over the last year Cunard has introduced a new programme called elev8 which has given our Senior Officers further training to enhance their leadership and management skills. This has been hugely successful and I can certainly say the training has been a great benefit for me. This programme has recently been rolled out to the other members of the onboard management team, and I asked Emma De-Wilde, Queen Elizabeth’s White Star Trainer and one of the participants of the first course on Queen Elizabeth, to tell me about it.

Guest Blog

Emma De-Wilde

White Star Trainer

Queen Elizabeth


Since joining Queen Elizabeth in November 2010, I had heard a lot about the elev8 leadership course and the feeling of “being elevated”, and was curious to find out the meaning behind the phrase. I have always enjoyed taking part in training sessions and attending courses which help my personal learning and development, so when my name appeared on the list for the first five day session, I felt excited and intrigued.  I was eager to learn a new topic which may help me in my chosen career path, and also to have the opportunity to interact with other senior members of crew on board.

On the first day, the team of 12 were split into four small groups and introduced to the course content for the day.  It was all quite formal to begin with but once the introductions were over, the real fun and learning began. 

The course comprised of six sessions over five days covering leadership for real, the language of the leader, engaging others, the leader as a coach, life leadership and goal setting/leadership in action.  Each session introduced the group to a new concept of leadership through theory based learning and fun interactive activities, enabling the teams to bond, work together and understand each concept in a new light. 

Brian Lynch our Personnel and Training Manager and Rishi Chadha, White Star Academy Trainer had planned and organised several team activities to highlight the main points of each topic which made the course extremely fun, interesting and lively; here they are in action.


I went with a very open mind and gained a lot from each session, including the importance of positive thinking, the traits of a good leader, my personal goals and priorities in life and what is important to me. Here I am with Assistant Maitre D’Hotel Oliver de Guzman and Head Waiter, Sylwester Potrac in one of our group tasks.

I found the whole experience rewarding and now I can confidently say, “I have been elevated” and intend to use what I have learnt to achieve my future dreams. I am also looking forward to the challenge of soon presenting elev8 myself!!

Thank you Emma for that great insight to the programme; it’s great to hear how good it was. I was recently invited to the graduation ceremony where all 52 participants of the first programme received their certificates.

Many of you will know our Chief Photographer Petar Petanac from all the photos he has shared with us on this Blog. He was one of the first graduates and here he is receiving his certificate from Captain Julian Burgess and Hotel Manager Robert Howie.

I asked him what he felt about the new elev8 programme:

I had a great five days during the elev8 course. It was really good fun as I was in a fabulous group. I must say the most important thing about the course was that it was very motivating, with a lot of great examples and tools of how to get ourselves “top of the mountain”, whatever that mountain is. I found myself again believing that I can achieve my goals and dreams and I hope this positive energy will be spread to my team as well. I have already had questions from them asking when the next elev8 course is as they would like to attend next time. I always say “It’s more important to have a dream, than to have the way to achieve it. If the power of our passion is strong enough we will figure out to make our dreams reality!”

Thanks for the great feedback and wise words Petar, it’s great you got so much out of it; congratulations.

That’s it for today’s Blog but I’ll be back on Thursday with pictures and news from around the Cunard Fleet, and how they celebrated Valentine’s Day. Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    Superb blog describing a new port of call for Cunard and in particular Queen Elizabeth.
    The details on elev8 are fascinatiing and so worthy of Cunard in ensuring it’s employees and, in particular, it’s senior team reflect the very high standards we have experienced on both the Queen Mary2 and Queen Elizabeth.
    As always, very best regards

  2. Kenneth Eden says:

    Jesper you do have a keen eye, such detailing. Ship looks like a winner to me.

    Our two year wait is nearly over. We booked the Hawaiian cruise in Queen Victoria two years ago, with a promotion available during a Queen Mary 2 sailing. Today we fly to Los Angeles, and next day have Cunard transfers to the port and Queen Victoria. Can not wait, was up since 3:00 am with anticipation of delight!

  3. Beryl Moss says:

    Another very interesting blog showing the new port of call for Cunard. It looked fascinating especially the thatched bus.
    Congratulations to Jesper on his fantastic drawing and I am sure everyone reading this blog will like yourself wish him all the best for his future. He is obviously a very talented young man.
    The details regarding the elev8 training are fascinating and goes to show just how much Cunard recognise the importance of continuing to deliver the high standards which we are all used to when sailing on any of the 3 Queens.
    Looking forward to your next blog on Thursday.

  4. Judith Sayers says:

    Great pictures as ever, as well as having thatched roofs, the buses appear to grow Palm trees too! Very interesting to hear about the courses the staff take, certainly helps to explain how the high standard of Cunard is maintained. See you soon.

  5. Tom Morgan says:

    Alistair, Sorry to go off topic, but someone needs to change the message when the QE web cam is not working. The issue of satellite strength interfering with transmission is hard to believe especially when it shows up when the ship is DOCKED at Auckland, NZ. Also, when the satellite doesn’t transmit the web cam, how does the ship’s GPS work? All my best. Tom

  6. Stephanie says:

    First time reading blog despite having enjoyed 3 trips on QM2.

    Interesting read about the training and development programme. It’s a shame that with all the references to February in this blog, someone could not spell it correctly on the certificate framing for the successful course delegates.

    Not sure about the timeframe Tom is talking about re the satellite, but around the time of his comment, the solar flares were supposed to be likely to affect satellites and POSSIBLY GPS etc on earth circa 16-18 Feb depending where you were dateline wise. But I am not technically minded so perhaps someone else will explain about the webcam. And from what I recall from seeing the operational side of navigation on board ships, the old fashioned methods of navigation are still there to support the sailing capability/technology, with the charts still being plotted too.

    Thinking of some friends met on another trip, currently on their way to Hawaii with Cunard – sorry we couldn’t make this trip as I am sure it will be wonderful! Stephanie

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